tv Inside Washington PBS February 10, 2013 12:30pm-1:00pm PST
>> production assistance for "inside washington" was provided by allbritton communications and politico, reporting on the legislative, executive, and political arena. >> if you do not, mr. president, you will go down in history as one of the most irresponsible commanders in chief in the history of the country. >> this week on "inside washington," gunfight at the sequestration corral. >> i believe they should ss this package othat would delay the effects of the sequester for a few more months until congress finds a way. >> john brennan, the cia, and drone strikes. >> i never think it is better to kill a terrorist than to detain him. >> marco rubio, savior of the republican party, and immigration debate. >> this is about getting it
right for the american people and those suffering under an immigration system that does not work well for anybody. >> after lights go out at the super bowl, thoughts about the nation's crumbling infrastructure. >> we lost lights. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> punxsutawney phil did not see his shadow this year, which means spring will come early. tell that to the folks in bosto ried in sn. the subject once again is the federal budget, federal debt, and the word that strikes fear it all over the hearts of d.c. and the suburbs, sequestration. >> it gives new meaning to the term "march madness," wbecause
that is what will result if we face the sequester. >> the president did not want to have to deal with the debt limit again before his reelection. >> we wilfurlough as manys 800,000 dod civilians around the country for up to 20 days. >> defense secretary leon panetta says that if sequestration kicks in and billions of defense cuts are allowed to stand, he will throw the -- it will for the defense strategy out the window. if congress does not act to stop this, there will be a $1.20 trillion cut in spending, half in the defense department, and no corresponding rise in taxes. wh is ur best guess,van? will it happen? >> yeah, a kid is going to happen. >> mark, if it does happen, the
consequences? >> carl levin, i respect as much as any member of congress, thinks the odds are about even. the iceberg is at there and we can see it and we continue to sail in the direction of that. i think republicans, particularly speaker boehner, don't want it. >> colby, how did it ce to this? >> they kicked it down the road. they tried to put this up to frighten everybody, but they cannot get together on the questions of tax cuts, cutting spending, entitlement reform. we are not going to have a sequestration. we are going to have castration of the military, castration of domestic programs. they see it coming. the president comes up with a oposal to do in a little bit onboth ses, and thfirs thing out andboehner's mouth is
that we will not have any kind of tax increase. >> we already had it one bit that is what republicans are arguing, nina. >> the question is for how long. it will be awful. it is not just the contractors, not just the military. it is sending out social security, can you reach anybody at the irs when you have a question? major crimes being investigated. national security issues, both domestically and abroad. the question is, how many weeks before common sense prevails? this will trigger was set up by people who said, oh, we will never do this. it is so awful we will never do it. they seem to be frozen in capacity. >> charles crowd hammer is off this week, but he has this column -- charles krauthammer is off this week, but he has this column.
"what should republicans do about seestrion? nothing. sit down on tax reform as outlined by simpson-bowles -- and the tax base, lower the tax rate." sounds reasonable? >> it sounds plausible, and four trials, it sounds exceptionally reasonable -- for charles, it sounds exceptionally reasonable. that was what the intention was. i think that in the short run, sequestration, the political damage will be to t republicans. theyre sen as the obstructionists, the no party. but let's be blunt about it, if this goes on and the consequences set in, it will be damaging to the economy and the country and in the long run it will be damaging to any sense of public confidence in government 's the ability to be a positive force in their lives. >> evan, according to the
congressional budget office, the deficit is shrinking and will continue for a while, but it will increase laterecause of an ang population and expansion of federal subsidies. cbo is predicting that by 2023, ifs continue -- if current laws continue, it will be on an upward path and tell that to your children and grandchildren. >> paul krugman has convinced a lot of my liberal friends that it is okay to kick this down the road. >> he actually used those words. >> terrible ide courts all kinds of disasters. sounded -- the interest rate spikes. it takes a long time to fix these problems. sequestration is a crude, ugly
tool, but if it had the effect of making people get serious about entitlement reform, it would not be so bad. >> colby, what do you think? >> going back to charles' column, he says that it is the first time since the election the president obama has been on the defense. i don't think that is true. i agree with mark on this, that republicans will bear the brunt of this initially because they are seen as the obstructionists. looking at it in sheer political terms, this as global implications for the u.s. economy tanking as a result of this. >> you think the american people are getting fed up with this? this has been going on for years. >> and worse and worse, so that there is no planning. you have a five-year transportation bill, then a two-year transportation bill,
then and nothing transportation bill. >> what does it take to make the government do the right thing? what sort of crisis? i would rather have an internal washington crisis to force them to do it than wait for a real crisis. if this were a forcing event, it would not be such a bad thing. >> but we keep having these forcing events and all that happens is that we keep waiting another three months. >> every state is going to be affected by this. >> the fall line and a conservative movement is clear here. -- fault line in the conservative movement is clear here. john boehner is warning that it would be 1 million jobs in defense cuts. at the same time, "the wall street journal" editorial pages oo-poohinthe cs. >> the cia, drones, and
targeting bad guys abroad even if the bad guys are americans. >> there is no occasion i am aware of where we had the opportunity to capture a terrorist and we did not and we decided to take the strike. >> that is john brennan, nominee for director of the cia. a lot of attention recently on drones killing bad guys abroad, including on more al-awlaki, a very bad guy who happened to be anmerin citizen. you have to go after the terrorists, and obama's record, some would say, is pretty impressive. >> it is a continuation of the policy that george w. bush laid down after 9/11, to pursue them wherever they are. notion thathe drones have killed civilians --
it is not just dronethat do it. if you fire artillery, you might hit civilians. if you talk about american citizens being targeted abroad, isn't it true that during world war ii, you had some americans who volunteered also with the ss? >> correct, yes. >> this is not groundbreaking. it is something we will have to think through, the traditional way or extrajudicial way of handling these targets. but to say that we're not gng to psue em with drones to me is silly. >> shouldn't there be some place you go if you do target an american citizen, some place you go, some secret court -- i don't care, like the intelligence court, where you say,, we are going to do this, we need a a legal finding? >> there probably is in some cases, said that might work, but a great many times you don't
have time. you find out about this fairly late and you just need to do it. it is a question of boots on the ground or drones. it is a very unappetizing was, because you alienate people if you come at them from the air or with boots on the ground. >> you could argue that they are more precise than f-18's. >> you can, but there's a certain inconsistency, if not hypocrisy here. when george w. bush and big cheney were doing it, there was a lot of liberal criticism, and that has increased dramatically under president obama, and with rare exceptions, the libals and the vil libertaria have been muted. >> after, obama has been much more aggressive about it. >> diane feinstein, following up on your point, says, look, we have such a process.
i don't think you can calculate the hostility and the enmity that is generated by civilian deaths. >> drones _ the tragic nature of being a superpower. people are going to get drone s and come back at us. but it is still necessary that we do these things because what else are we going to do? >> we have a secret army and the cia is going off on its own. you wrote a book about this -- >> it makes me extremely anxious because the history of a covert action is that it often backfires. i hate to be fruity about this, but if you are a superpower and try to keep peace and the world, you are going to be reprehensible things and it is almost guaranteed to come back and bite you, but you still
have to do it. >> i remember you predicted right after 9/11, get ready, we will do unpalatable things. >> of course, it just goes with the territory. >> there was this moment in the hearings that i thought was indicative which was actually about waterboarding and torture, in which brennan said he knew about it and protested it but did not do anything to stop it because he was not in the chain of command at that point. i thought was a pretty reprehensible answer. but on the other hand, i know that bob gates, when he was cia director, did some things i had the same view about, and he turned out to be the best bureaucrat. i don't think there's any way you can have these jobs and have me actually have any respecfor your morals. >> if evan is fruity, he is a
real beach. [laughter] with the hearing said john brennan and chuck hagel, they stand in real contrast. whatever one thinks of the john brennan, he was in command, knowledgeable, assertive, direct, and made his own case. would that chuck hagel had the same -- >> lord high executioner. >> he wants the military -- he wants to move it to the military. >> he wants to get the cia back into the business of collecting intelligence and not paramilitary kinds of things. somebody is going to have to do that job, though. >> marco rubio, immigration, and the future of republican politics. >> are we serious about border security and employment verification? are we serious about making this the last, last time we have this
conversation? or was simplylaying political gas with peoe's lives and undercutting the respect for the rule of law, which, ironically, is the very reason they seek to come to this country in the first place? >> that is a congressman from south carolina. a long time ago, ronald reagan said that hispanics were republicans who did not know it yet. if the last election is any indication, they still don't. here is republic senator marco rubio taking a leading role for republicans and proposing a plan that would give undocumented immigrants a chance at citizenship. the man "time" magazine calls the savior of the republican party. message -- hispanics, we love you, join our party. will they this in, mark?
>> yes, because they have no alternative. they have to get to the point where it they talk to hispanic voters -- hispanics listen to republicans, at them. [laughter] i don't speak for hispanics, i speak for the nation as a whole. marco rubio is a great talent. the only reason he has moved on immigration is that his mother, saintedm other, left a voicemail saying, but what go easy. these are our people, the people who me to the me reasons we did." >> that is in the "time" magazine story, great story. do you believe it? [laughter] >> look, this is early in this presidential sweepstakes.
i don't know where he is going to end op-ed four years from now. there will be other republic -- end up four years from now. there will be other republicans who will step in. as far as going to the republican party, this is about policy. this is not about marco rubio, this is about policy. that is the kind of policy that latinos -- >> although there seems to be an awakening here. >> congress dysfunctional -- here is actually a chance for american politics to force a good thing. this guy running for president, reaching out to republicans, wh coul actually get a compromise that everybody knows we need. >> but over in the house, republicans want to have their cake and eat it, too.
no real change, no path for citizenship, no green card. this is not out way to get a population to vote for you. >> my argument is that there appears to be movement on the hill. >> there is, it make no mistake about it. john mccain put it bluntly that his state wld be a blue state. ann coulter has already, against marco rubio, saying that all you're doing is creating more democratic voters with a path to citizenship, just like you did with easy divorce, in her judgment. >> does she have a point, colby? >> as far as rubio is concerned? >> creating more democratic votes. >>hey ll " more democratic until republicans, with policies
that attract their attention. when you bring people into the system as obama's healthcare does, that his policy. you will not change that with marco rubio's face. >> were you watching when the lights went out at the super bowl? it happens in washington a lot. >> the interruptions in service did not occur inside the building. >> t sysm worked -- that is what they said after watergate. [laughter] why did the lights go off in the superdome? the power co. said it was a faulty device they installed. in any case, it brings me to the question of infrastructure. a couple of years ago, the world economic forum rated as 23rd, between chile and spain, and apparently we're not getting much better. >> the president has proposed
over and over again that we address this, that we tackle this problem now, and we're going nowhere. the budget, the budget, the budget. infrastructure is going to continue to deteriorate. >> the electrical grid, roads, tunnels, mass transportation. if we started work on that, think of all the people we could put to work. >> i think it is even more fundamental than that. cbs pointed out that during the blackout, it was the fourth most watched television show in history. [laughter] there is something called future preference, which is a willingness in the here and now to make sacrifices so that tomorrow will be richer, fairer, a better country. boy, if that is it missing from the dialogue of the debate -- and the president and congress as well.
>> the government increasingly writes checks to people, give them money, instead of writing checks to build things. we have got to cut back on entitlements, so that there is some money to actress are building things again. >> sacrifice, nina. >> you just see public opinion polls. we are that me generation and have been for a while. people want to balance the budget, but god forbid you should trim their social security, medicare, even if they are fairly well-to-do. they don't want to give up anything they have. >> what's the power failure? did the mob intervene? was it the new orleans and acquitted electrical system? was it beyonce's show? >> i thought that show was repulse of. it shows america at its worst.
we accept lewdness. she is beautiful and a great singer, but people watching that -- >> from the vatican -- [laughter] >> nothing or pulse -- repulsive about the performance. it was in keeping with the kinds of performances you see among young singers -- >> yes, that is the point. >> i thought she danced very well, sang very well. >> she is a great performer, but it is so overt. >> coats up to her neck -- >> no, but there is a difference between petticoats of your neck and that kind ofumpi -- >> did you turn off the tv? >> yeah, actually. >> oh, come on, if you turn it
off -- [laughter] >> there is a great latin phrase -- no point arguing about matters of taste. i come down one evan's side. i felt the same way about madonna and lady gaga. what ever happened to it subtlety? i stipulate that beyonce is a talented and beautiful -- >> about bumps and grinds -- >> do you think subtlety is overrated, nina? [laughter] >> in the greater scheme of things, i thought this was hardly the most lewd and vulgar thing -- wait, wait, you argued a lot. there is way worse on television whalers language and everything.
it is not my personal thing, but it did not jump out at me as particularly awful. >> i don't know what this has to do with infrastructure. >> or "inside washington"! >> so we can be sure what we're talking about, could about quitbeyonce back on, and watch all of it, evan. >> back to infrastructure. we were 23rd, we may be up t 15. is it fair compare countes like switzerland? if you drive across the country, the roads are pretty good. >> you commute in washington? >> washington has the worst travel problems in the country. >> nothing but pot holes. >> one of the few things, the roads, made in america. >> the electrical grid is really vulnerable, and in the age of the cyberwar, it can break down on its own, can be brought down.
when you sit in the dark and is it cold, that is no fun. >> one of the things that the president is going to do by executive order. it is so scary and vulnerable and congress has done nothing. >> one of the great uncovered stories of the cyberwar and a service it, because of "the new york times" and "the wall street journal," american corporations are victims of the cyber warfare on a regular basis, but because of the profit method, they do not want to jeopardize markets in china. >> ooooh -- >> true, true story from corporate c.l.'s. >> not necessarily so. >> you have an issue with this? >> they want to keep their presence and there. that is not a money-making.